One of the lessons of this coronavirus panic – a lesson that should never have had to be learned in the first place – is that President Obama’s neoliberal attitude that we can have a purely professional economy (everyone needs to go to college and “learn to code,” you better step into the modern world) and still maintain stability over the long term is 100% dead wrong.
In fact, this crisis would be even deeper and deadlier if we had taken the Obama/Biden/Bloomberg professional class logic to ever more extremes than we did already. We may need the government’s assistance to ramp up manufacturing of necessary equipment now, but at least we still have domestic farmers restocking our grocery market shelves daily. (Though the China-Obama nexus did its level best to make their livelihoods unsustainable too.) These are the people Bloomberg recently dismissed as simpletons dancing over seeds in the ground, even though your average combine is more technologically equipped than one of his ubiquitous market data terminals. (In fact, I would argue that agriculture is actually a STEM job now.)
This is a powerful lesson in not electing dangerously out-of-touch people.
It is now beyond dispute that we need to re-develop robust domestic manufacturing operations, agriculture, and energy independence in a big way. We cannot trust brutal regimes and their wage slaves to provide for us in a crisis, especially a crisis that directly pits our interests against theirs. If you feel good about 80% of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals being manufactured in a country with profound and genuine contempt for our culture and way of life, I’m confident you are quite in the minority today.
The one silver lining of the despair people are suddenly experiencing is that the “let them learn to code” mentality – which presidential candidate Joe Biden exhibited only weeks before this crisis – and the mocking of people in trades as uncouth and uneducated and unnecessary is dying a humiliating death. You may have gone to graduate school, but you need the God-fearing, gun-toting, hard hat-wearing workers of America for your survival.
I’ve been watching gross celebrities like Debra Messing – aptly named, as she is sincerely messed up in her head – talking about how she hopes the MAGA crowd gets coronavirus and dies. These sickos need to be powerfully rejected in favor of normalizing American values, work ethic, and family life. (Another lesson of this crisis is that the best personal safety net is an extended family.) This is the petty garbage that has made our country vulnerable in this very moment. It’s toxic and it needs to just go away already.
Victor Davis Hanson is excellent in this piece – Remembering Who Is Keeping Us Alive:
I tried an experiment yesterday. I went to four large supermarkets in Fresno County, the nation’s largest and most diverse food-producing county, and looked at both checkouts and shelf space. The two big sellers seemed to be cleansers of all sorts (bleach wipes were all sold out, for example) and staples such as canned soup, pasta, and canned fish and preserved meat.
Then I drove in about a 50-mile circumference to look at local farms — vineyards, orchards, row crops, dairy, etc. — and packinghouses and processors. There seemed absolutely no interruption at all. Farmers and workers were on tractors, packing houses were bringing in late citrus for cold storage, and lots of people were harvesting winter vegetables in the field. Machines were fertilizing, spraying, and cultivating.
The point is that in our age of necessary shutdowns and staying home, one thing we must do is eat — and eat well to stay healthy. And that means lots of people have to go to work and produce food and transport it to the major cities, and not always in isolation on the south 40.
Farmers do a lot more than just drop a seed in the ground and then by rote watch it sprout into a corn stalk, as one of our nation’s richest and most influential figures lectured us not all that long ago. For millions to subsist at home, to force the virus to sputter out, they must eat, as well as have power, running water, law enforcement, and sanitation. And that means millions of Americans must go to work as usual and sustain the elementals and existential forces of American life for 330 million, usually out of sight and out of mind, as we concentrate on the required quarantining of universities, offices, bureaus, sporting events, etc.
Another lesson of this ongoing crisis — in addition to the need for U.S. domestic production of some key medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, even greater skepticism about the veracity, competence, and agendas of media, and reexamination of the gospel of globalization and open borders — is greater appreciation of muscular labor and those who feed us, protect us, give us energy, and clean up after us, and who cannot afford to stay home, and whom America cannot afford that they might.